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Writer Wednesday : Book marketing with Carol Corbett

Book Marketing

Last week, I had an appointment with two local publicists to help me market the books to Denver. Because I know so little about book marketing, I begged asked my friend, Carol Corbett from a great little publishing house, Publishing Works, for help. Carol is the VP of marketing at Publishing Works. We met on Twitter. She had great ideas and is always willing to help out.

Overall, Carol gave me great ideas about book marketing. I had to share them here.

Marketing MUST HAVES:

Because online marketing seems so easy, Carol said that people forget the basics.  Carol believe every book campaign must have:

1. A great local campaign. Your local campaign is literally the foundation of your book sales. In Carol's words: "If no one in your neighborhood knows you wrote a book, why would anyone else?"

2. A campaign focused on your market. "There is a market ready and waiting for your book," Carol said.  What magazines, newspapers, or TV shows reach your specific market? Find your market then take a few steps back from it - Where do they shop? What do they do on a Saturday? Where do they get their news?

A few marketing DON'TS

1. Don't get overly focused on being a bestseller. The word is very pliable. There are relatively easy ways to manipulate Amazon or even Barnes and Noble so that you look like a bestseller. But becoming a bestseller doesn't mean you stay a bestseller. Without the basics, you will fall back to obscurity when your manipulation is done.

2. Don't listen to anyone who tells you they will get you on Oprah. Chances are you won't. Further unless you a solid author platform (aka an audience), your visit to Oprah won't pay off. Your audience pulls you along the path to the NY Times best seller list, Oprah, etc.

3. Don't give over the entire process to someone else. You must sit in the passenger seat of any book campaign.  Marketing is collaborative. For example, if your PR person gets  you a TV spot, you should tell the newspapers that you're going to be on television.

4. Don't believe the big name authors had it easy. "If you look under the flap of most big name authors, you'll find that people struggled and suffered when they were starting out."

A few general principles

1. It takes a lot of marketing, and a lot of dollars, to make a book career.

2. Think of each event - television, best sellers list, radio interviews, book sales - as one step on your journey, not your destination.

3. Look at the timing of your marketing efforts. If there's something big going on in the media (ex. Obama election, Haiti earthquake), no one is going to pay attention to your event.

4. It's easy to kiss a lot of money good-bye.

5. The old fashioned marketing techniques work really well because no one does them. (Ex.  Hand written thank you notes.)

6. Right now, it's hard to get people out of their houses to buy books.

7. Don't be afraid to say 'no' to your PR person, an interview request or whatever. It's better to not go then to have a bad interview.

Good stuff, wouldn't you say? I hope it helps you on your journey.